MONDAY MAY 23, 2022: PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO –John Ramirez, Digicel Senior VAS and Billing Engineer, got an opportunity to impact his community with a TT$30,000 EPIC grant from Digicel Foundation. Ramirez used the funding to develop a Hydroponics System at the Greenvale Park Police Youth Club. The food sustainability project was completed last week and its progress was shared with key stakeholders.
Last weekend, the Digicel Foundation joined Greenvale Park Police Youth Club for the setup of a hydroponics staked unit and hydroponic grow bags in the Greenvale community. This project directly addresses the specific socioeconomic and entrepreneurial needs of at-risk youths within the community. The project will provide participants with the knowledge and skills to establish and maintain hydroponic crop systems, a simple and sustainable option to provide food and decrease family and community expenditure.
Ramirez stated; “I saw the immense value in the project. It encouraged the participants to develop entrepreneurial skills. The project and training was also very enlightening and really focused on the various aspects of this alternative practice of agriculture – giving participants the know how to move forward with their own projects.
Additionally, The Greenvale Police Youth club is conducting its first “Hydroponics For Sustainability” training program. The hands-on program has engaged many persons who expressed interest in learning about alternative methods of agriculture. Amongst the attendees are Dimitri Baptiste, J'mia Charles, and Israel Belle who are ages 20, 19 and 17 respectively. Although they were already involved in other club activities, the three youth enthusiastically agreed to participate in the project. They shared that they preferred Hydroponics to traditional agriculture. They learned that Hydroponics offered a very efficient and cost-effective method of sustainable agriculture that could be developed using limited space, this piqued their interest.
In 2019, the Greenvale Park Police Youth Club was a recipient of an EPIC grant valued at $35,000 TTD for the establishment of an aquaponics system. The Greenvale Park Community was able to benefit from this system during the COVID 19 lockdown. Earlier in January, for yet another year, the Digicel Foundation opened the EPIC applications to our staff members to be change agents in their communities. Up for grabs, three grants valued at TT $30,000 each. A total of 7 staff members applied for projects ranging from refurbishments of community spaces, community park upgrades, installation of hydroponics systems, and awareness programmes.